When you start to think about leaving school you will need to consider what you are going to do tofill in your time. Some people find that when it comes time to leave school they have no idea of what they want to do with their life. There are also people who know exactly what they want to do but they may not know how to go about it. There are many options available. Keep in mind that it could take you a while to work out what you want to do in relation to further education, training or work.
Education and Training
University is an option for some people considering tertiary education. There are many courses throughout many universities in NSW. To gain entry into university you have to meet certain criteria. If you have a course in mind, talk with your school counsellor about the eligibility criteria and how to apply to the university.
All people who undertake study at a university are asked to contribute to the cost of their education through HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme). These payments can be deferred, meaning you can pay for the cost later when you start earning money. For more information about HECS visit the HECS web site (www.hecs.gov. au) or talk with your school counsellor or case manager.
TAFE NSW also offers many courses for people who want some further education and training. There are heaps of courses offered; vocational as well as interest courses. All TAFEs have disability support people that can assist you to choose a course that interests you. They are also great people to help negotiate some support for you to be able to complete the course. You may want some extra help with note-taking or tutoring. For more information about TAFE and their services for people with a disability look on the TAFE web site, talk with your school counsellor or your case manager. TAFE courses do cost money but you may also be eligible for an exemption.
New Apprenticeships combines work with training and at the end you get a recognised qualification. There are many different types of occupations to choose from. Some schools even off er this program as part of your last years of school. You will also get a training wage while you work and study. Talk with your school counsellor, your case manager or have a look at the New Apprenticeships web site for more information. The ATLAS Program assists students in NSW through the transition from school to employment. There are only limited places available and you need to meet certain criteria. All applications close in May and have to be done through your school. If you want some further information on this program talk with your school counsellor or principal as you have to get in early. Local services may also be available to you that are directed towards people who are not able to access other courses and training. Talk with your case manager about the services that are available in your local area.
Work experience is all about trailing a job for a short amount of time to see if it is something that you enjoy or are suited to. It is a trial prior to employment. Some schools off er work experience. This is usually undertaken for a short period of time and is often not paid. It is worth asking if employers off er work experience. If they do, make sure you ask whether it is paid or unpaid and negotiate an exact amount of time you will be doing the work experience.
Other useful tools
Use Toolkit B Promoting Independence. See especially Section 23 Employment and Section 24 Continue learning.
There are many employment services which off er a variety of things. The best way to work out what service would suit you is to find out as much information as possible about the services. Talk with family, friends and professionals who may have used the services. Perhaps a visit to the service could also help you get a feel for what it is like and if it is the service for you.
Some employment services off er services to provide you with a quick course that will help you be ‘job ready’ and then place you in a job but they do not provide any follow up support. There are some employment services that specialise in services for disabled job seekers who off er more. They not only find you employment but also provide you with training on the job and support to help you keep the job.
Below are a couple of employment services that are relevant throughout NSW. There are also local employment services, so ask your case manager about these local services.
Job Network is a network of organisations that help you get and keep a job. Centrelink is able to refer you to a local Job Network member. A list of members can also be found on the Job Network web site. In some areas there are employment services for job seekers with a disability.
CRS Australia helps people with a disability or injury get a job. CRS provides information on choosing the right job for you, gaining work experience and training as well as providing on going support. CRS also helps with how to write a job application and a CV and how to prepare for interviews.
The services provided by CRS are free to people who are receiving a Centrelink benefit. You can get more information about CRS from Centrelink or by telephoning CRS.